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Most would agree that it’d be highly unlikely that both the Edmonton
Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets would pass on Nail Yakupov.  After all,
Yakupov has been the consensus number one pick for almost two years, and his
stock hasn’t dipped in that time.  So, barring some unexpected draft selections from
those teams, and assuming GM Marc Bergevin doesn’t trade up for the number one pick, Yakupov
doesn’t seem destined to become a Canadien come Draft Day.  Nonetheless,
the talented Russian would certainly fill a need on Montreal’s roster, and
should be evaluated accordingly… if only to tease Habs’ fans with the
possibility of seeing Nail in the bleu, blanc et rouge.

Right Wing

Born October 6, 1993 – Nizhnekamsk, Russia

Height: 5’11"    Weight: 190lb    Shoots: Left

ISS Rank: 1    THN Rank: 1    McKeens Rank: 1   

Year Team League GP G A P PIM
2010-11 Sarnia OHL 65 49 52 101 71
  Russia WU18 7 6 7 13 6
2011-12 Sarnia OHL 42 31 38 69 30
  Russia WJC 7 0 9 9 6

Although injuries may have limited Yakupov’s point production this past year, it did nothing
to quiet the hype surrounding the young Russian.  Known primarily for his
goal-scoring, Yakupov rounded out his game this year, and has become dangerous
in all offensive situations.  Nail possesses a great shot, slick hands and
is an excellent skater.  Despite his smaller stature, he doesn’t shy away
from the physical aspect of the game, and won’t hesitate to get to the dirty
areas of the ice.  Nail is the type of player that could complement an
already strong forward corps, or a team could very easily build a team around
the talented Russian.  Moroever, Nail is a charismatic young man, and quite
comfortable addressing the media in English, a quality not to be overlooked.

Yakupov projects as a franchise winger, and if selected, would very likely step into
Montreal’s roster in 2012-2013.  As Montreal is perennially perceived as
"small", critics would likely bemoan Nail’s smaller size, but his talent alone
would improve Montreal’s scoring ability,
providing enough depth to roll 3 scoring lines.  Although Montreal’s
lack of depth at centre needs addressing, the Habs could ill-afford to pass on
the high-class talent Yakupov would provide.  It goes without saying, if
the Canadiens can find a way to acquire Yakupov without sacrificing any core
roster components, Bergevin should pull the trigger.